Stop Emailing Wire Transfer Instructions

Learn about the risks of relying on email to send real estate wire transfer instructions and the best option to secure your business and clients.

Stop Emailing Wire Transfer Instructions

Learn about the risks of relying on email to send real estate wire transfer instructions and the best option to secure your business and clients.

Stop Emailing Wire Transfer Instructions
Written by:

Claudia Lee

Read time:

5 minutes


Fraud Prevention


Jan 10, 2023

Is your settlement and title company seeing an increasing barrage of fraudulent attempts to infiltrate its wire transfer process? Sadly, your business is not alone.

Last year, 46 percent of settlement and title agencies reported that their employees received at least one email per month attempting to change wire or payoff instructions. Making matters worse, 86 percent of settlement and title agencies said the volume of cyberattacks either increased or remained the same last year compared to 2020.

What do these statistics mean for the security of your business and your customers’ financial safety?

Criminals on the hunt for a big payday target real estate closings, and the methods that settlement and title agencies currently use to protect their customers are not enough.

Now’s the time to switch to a better, more secure method.

In this post, learn why your current method of sending wire transfer instructions via email needs to stop and what your business can do instead.

Top Reasons to Stop Emailing Wire Transfer Instructions

Business email compromise is increasing. 

Criminals know how to use business email compromise (BEC) to inject themselves into your legitimate wire transfer data collection and confirmation process. After gaining access to at least one of your employee’s email accounts, criminals intercept an outgoing or incoming email message, replace real account information with their own, and send the message along as if it was part of the usual process.

Once the fraud is complete following the closing, the misdirected money is quickly transferred to other accounts to prevent traceability and funds recovery in a process called “layering.”

Unfortunately, in 2021, losses relating to business email compromise increased by 33 percent compared to 2020, reaching $2.4 billion in total losses

Not all email services are created equal.

Although your company’s email service has the necessary security protections—such as difficult user passwords, message encryption, and the latest security patches—not all parties may have the same security controls.

This could mean that another party to your transaction, such as a buyer, seller, or agent, could be vulnerable to BEC or another security flaw that could put sensitive information and wiring instructions in the wrong hands. 

The costs of fraud continue to rise.

Unfortunately, for many settlement and title companies, the risk of wire fraud is a matter of when, not if

And when wire fraud does strike, the financial impact on your agency and clients can be devastating. Losses from all forms of fraud reached $3.3 billion in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2019. Despite a rise in awareness about wire fraud, only 17 percent of title and settlement companies fully recovered stolen funds from intercepted wire transactions.

A minor mistake can lead to major consequences.

In the crunch of a busy season or quickly approaching deadlines, it can be easy to make mistakes or overlook otherwise obvious warning signs.

Whether due to an accidentally mistyped email address, a modified account number or bank destination, or a purposefully altered or spoofed email address, sensitive information could end up with the wrong person.

There is a better way!

Today’s settlement and title companies have access to an industry-leading platform, CertifID. This platform not only provides end-to-end encryption during the account information collection process and wire transfer instruction distribution, but also easily integrates into your existing closing process workflow.

CertifID takes wire transfer information out of email and can be helpful in managing against future risk of liability, as well as protect against catastrophic financial and reputation loss..

Protect Your Brand and Reduce Your Risk with CertifID

If your business hasn’t been affected by wire fraud, it can be tempting to keep moving ahead with business as usual. However, given the known risks and costs to your brand’s reputation and your customers’ finances, continuing to email wire transfer instructions is only playing into the hands of fraudsters.

Turn the tables on these tenacious cybercriminals and choose a better, more secure way to handle your customer’s financial interests with CertifiD.

Want to learn more about the risk of wire fraud and how CertifID is at the front line protecting businesses like yours from today’s fraudsters? Then check out our ongoing series, To Catch a Fraudster!

Claudia Lee

VP of Marketing

Claudia is a marketing leader who has led several global functions in enterprise IT. She has a strong track record of scaling growth through partnerships and solutions across a variety of industries.

Getting started with CertifID is easy.

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